The Importance Of Stratification In Society

1461 Words 6 Pages
One inherent quality in humans is the need to categorize things. We need order and in order to achieve order, we put things in categories. It is not even always conscious, but it is and has always been present both socially and institutionally in our society. As a society, we classify people in a process called stratification by race, class, and gender. By understanding human’s innate need to classify people through symbolic interactionism, we can develop a deeper understanding of the manifestations of social stratification in society and use that in order to make it known that this need to classify does not need to elevate some people and disparage others.
The root of this societal system that arranges people into sections, which is so prevalent
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It is difficult to define gender, but Kessler and McKenna do so in a widely accepted way, so I will use that definition here. “‘Gender designates masculinity and femininity: the psychological, social, and cultural aspects of maleness and femaleness’ (Kessler and McKenna, 1978)”(Newman 72). This specifies gender as masculinity and femininity, but does not touch on biological sex or the sexual dichotomy that states that one is either male or female, usually determined by biology and anatomy. When you meet a person along with classifying and categorizing their race, you also do this with their gender. Whether this is conscious or not, we make gender attribution assumptions for everyone we have and will ever meet, and in turn use this attribution to expect things from that person. Women are expected to be docile and passive while men are expected to be strong and powerful, and when people do not meet up to these gender standards, problems arise. This sexual dichotomy is what our culture is built off …show more content…
By virtue of the lines taken by others, one can create a face, or image of themselves and they, in turn, project and manage impressions that produce favorable outcomes for themselves in a process called impression management. We engage in this behavior constantly in order to construct these favorable outcomes specifically in terms of race, class, and gender. Impressions based on race are very hard to manage, because of stereotypes; so many people try to do this by breaking racial stereotypes. For example, a black man may avoid sports or chicken for fear of being perceived as more black than he already obviously is based on the color of his skin. The Staples article attests to this and includes an example where a black man tries to appear as white as possible to appease his white counterparts. “I whistle melodies from Beethoven and Vivaldi…”(Staples 609). Gender roles are so strict that in order to maintain the image of a functioning person in the population, one must conform to these ideals and restrictions i.e. boys wear blue and girls wear pink. There is no real need for this, but it is in place still. Not only does the problem lie in adhering to these gender roles, but also when people do not fit within this sexual dichotomy i.e. intersex or transsexual individuals, the

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